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American Betrayal

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"This explosive book is a long-needed answer to court histories that continue to obscure key facts about our backstage war with Moscow. Must-reading for serious students of security issues and Cold War deceptions, both foreign and domestic."

-- M. Stanton Evans, author of Stalin's Secret Agents and Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies

"[West] only claims `to connect the dots,' which is a very modest description of the huge and brilliant work she has obviously done. ... It is not simply a good book about history. It is one of those books which makes history."

-- Vladimir Bukovsky, author of To Build a Castle and co-founder of the Soviet dissident movement, and Pavel Stroilov, author of Behind the Desert Storm.

"Every once in a while, something happens that turns a whole structure of preconceived ideas upside down, shattering tales and narratives long taken for granted, destroying prejudice, clearing space for new understanding to grow. Diana West's latest book, American Betrayal, is such an event."
 
-- Henrik Raeder Clausen, Europe News

"No book has ever frightened me as much as American Betrayal. ... It all adds up to a story so disturbing that it has changed my attitude to almost everything I think about how the world actually is."

-- Steven Kates, Quadrant

Her task is ambitious; her sweep of crucial but too-little-known facts of history is impressive; and her arguments are eloquent and witty. ... American Betrayal is one of those books that will change the way many of us see the world.

-- Susan Freis Falknor, Blue Ridge Forum

“What Diana West has done is to dynamite her way through several miles of bedrock. On the other side of the tunnel there is a vista of a new past. Of course folks are baffled. Few people have the capacity to take this in. Her book is among the most well documented I have ever read. It is written in an unusual style viewed from the perspective of the historian—but it probably couldn’t have been done any other way.”

-- Lars Hedegaard, historian, editor, Dispatch International

"Diana West's new book rewrites WWII and Cold War history not by disclosing secrets, but by illuminating facts that have been hidden in plain sight for decades. Furthermore, she integrates intelligence and political history in ways never done before."

-- Jeffrey Norwitz, former professor of counterterrorism, Naval War College

Diana West’s American Betrayal — a remarkable, novel-like work of sorely needed historical re-analysis — is punctuated by the Cassandra-like quality of “multi-temporal” awareness. ... But West, although passionate and direct, is able to convey her profoundly disturbing, multi-temporal narrative with cool brilliance, conjoining meticulous research, innovative assessment, evocative prose, and wit.

-- Andrew G. Bostom, PJ Media

Do not be dissuaded by the controversy that has erupted around this book which, if you insist on complete accuracy, would be characterized as a disinformation campaign.

-- Jed Babbin, The American Spectator

The most important anti-Communist book of our time.

-- J.R. Nyquist, contributor, And Reality Be Damned ... What Media Didn't Tell You about the End of the Cold War and the Fall of Communism in Europe

The polemics against your Betrayal have a familiar smell: The masters of the guild get angry when someone less worthy than they are ventures into the orchard in which only they are privileged to harvest. The harvest the outsider brought in, they ritually burn.

-- Hans Jansen, former professor of Islamic Thought, University of Utrecht 

West's lesson to Americans: Reality can't be redacted, buried, fabrictaed, falsified, or omitted. Her book is eloquent proof of it.

-- Edward Cline, Family Security Matters

In American Betrayal, Ms. West's well-established reputation for lacking "sacred cows" remains intact. The resulting beneficiaries are the readers, especially those who can deal with the truth.

-- Wes Vernon, Renew America

After reading American Betrayal and much of the vituperation generated by neconservative "consensus" historians, I conclude that we cannot ignore what West has demonstrated through evidence and cogent argument.

-- John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D., Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

Enlightening. I give American Betrayal five stars only because it is not possible to give it six.

-- John Dietrich, formerly of the Defense Intelligence Agency and author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy.

If you're looking for something to read, this is the most dazzling, mind-warping book I have read in a long time. It has been criticized by the folks at Front Page, but they don't quite get what Ms. West has set out to do and accomplished. I have a whole library of books on communism, but -- "Witness" excepted -- this may be the best.

-- Jack Cashill, author of Deconstructing Obama: The Lives, Loves and Letters of America's First Postmodern President and First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America

American Betrayal is a monumental achievement. Brilliant and important.

-- Monica Crowley, Fox News analyst, radio host and author of What the Bleep Just Happened: The Happy Warriors Guide to the Great American Comeback

"If you haven't read Diana West's "American Betrayal" yet, you're missing out on a terrific, real-life thriller."

-- Brad Thor, author of the New York Times bestsellers Hidden Order, Black List and The Last Patriot.


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Blog
Oct 26

Written by: Diana West
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 5:02 AM 

Can't seem to stop thinking about this poignant story.

From yesterday's Washington Post by David A. Fahrenthold:

ON HOLLAND ISLAND, MD. The story was strange enough to be a child's fable: In an isolated section of the Chesapeake Bay, there was a two-story Victorian house that seemed to emerge directly from the water.

And, scurrying around it, there was a retiree, trying to keep the house from falling in.

Finally, the man gave up. And last week, the house did, too. Raked by a storm, it cracked at the spine and collapsed into a one-story wreck.

The tale of the house and the man illustrates the Chesapeake's problem with rising oceans and sinking land. It has already erased life on most of the bay's islands and now is threatening to erase the islands themselves.

The century-old house was the last structure left on Holland Island, an abandoned watermen's community. Waves had eroded so much land that, at high tide, the house seemed to sit directly on the waves.

For the past 15 years, a former minister named Stephen White had been trying to hold back the water, protecting the house's foundations with timbers and rocks and sandbags.

"I lie in bed and feel like I failed. And then I remember that I did everything that I could," said White, who had first visited the abandoned island as a boy.

The house, at its beginning, was nothing special: three rooms up, two rooms down, with a kitchen on the back. It was built around 1888 and was one of about 60 houses on an island more than three miles long.

At the time, the bay was dotted with inhabited islands, where people farmed or watermen sailed out to dredge oysters.

Holland Island was one of the largest: Historians say it had more than 360 people around 1910, with two stores, a school and a baseball team that traveled to other islands by boat.

But the inhabitants' luck, and their land, would not hold.

Sea levels in the Chesapeake, scientists say, are rising faster than they are in some other coastal regions of the United States. One reason is ancient: The land here has been slowly sinking for thousands of years, settling itself from bulges created by the weight of Ice Age glaciers. The weight of glaciers to the north pushed the Earth's crust down, and the crust in this area went up like the other end of a see-saw. Now, the whole region is slowly sinking again.

The other reason is modern: climate change. The Earth's oceans are rising, scientists say, because polar ice is melting, and because warmer water expands. They have noticed the effect of climate change more in the past couple of decades, government scientists say.

These two factors mean that seas rise a tenth of an inch annually, eroding about 580 acres of Maryland a year, according to the state. The loss of land is all around the bay but is most noticeable on the low islands.

Holland Island was especially hard-hit: Like other Chesapeake islands, it was made of silt and clay, not rock, so its land eroded readily. Today, the ragged piece of marshy land is smaller than Holland's outline in colonial times.

"It's just like a dipstick," said Michael Kearney, a professor at the University of Maryland. "The water goes up, it just gets drowned."

After their heyday in the late 1800s, island villages began to wink out. James Island was abandoned about 1910, Barren Island about 1916. The Holland Islanders left about 1920, and most of the houses went with them, disassembled, put on boats, and reassembled in Eastern Shore towns such as Cambridge and Crisfield.

This house stayed behind.

White, who had worked as a waterman and a Methodist minister, bought the house and most of the island in 1995 for $70,000. It sits about six miles offshore from his home on the Eastern Shore.

He said the place became an obsession after he stumbled upon a young girl's grave in one of the island's grown-over graveyards.

"Bear with me a minute," he recalled, his voice breaking at the memory. "It said, 'Forget me not, is all I ask.'

"And I didn't. I still haven't," White said. He said he drew inspiration from a photo, taken in the same cemetery, where he saw the ghostly outline of a girl standing near the grave.

So at the age of 65, White began trying to save the island by himself. Erosion experts say he never had much of a chance: To bring back Poplar Island, farther north, has required about $667 million, vast tons of dirt, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

White first tried building breakwaters out of wood. The waves smashed them. He and his wife laid out hundreds of sandbags. The summer sun baked them, and many split open. White lugged 23 tons of large rocks around by hand and dropped them at the shoreline. But it wasn't enough.

All the while, the bay got closer.

During Hurricane Isabel, in 2003, waves rolled through the kitchen. He fixed the house. But last winter the combination of high winds and tides pushed the house off two of its supporting piers.

Other people snickered at White, the Sisyphus of Dorchester County. But he held out hope that a big donor or a government agency would swoop in and help him save the place. None did.

In June, White fell ill with hemolytic anemia, a near-deadly drop in his red blood cells. He finally sold the house, and his part of the island, to a foundation run by a Falls Church investor, Robert Fitzgerald.

"It's a struggle that the strongest wins. And I wasn't the strongest," said White, now 80. He is still undergoing chemotherapy, although his red-blood-cell count has returned to normal.

Fitzgerald was inspired to protect the remaining pieces of the island after reading about it in The Washington Post in 2000. But it was too late for the house, which sat on a particularly vulnerable part of Holland Island.

On Thursday, a group of Chesapeake Bay Foundation employees went to visit what remains of the island. From a distance, the house was still a strange - though shorter - sight, its boxy frame standing out against the flat water like the outline of a ruined farmhouse on the plains.

When they got closer, the damage was obvious. The house had broken open in front, and a bed jutted out from a second-story bedroom, its white sheets fluttering in the wind. The evidence of White's struggles - an excavating machine, rocks, a small bulldozer - sat half-submerged around it.

"It just kind of hit me. For the last 35 years, I've been using that house as a landmark," Don Baugh, a vice president at the bay foundation, said as the boat approached. "That's pretty damn sad. That's the end of an era."

It definitely won't, however, be the end of the Chesapeake's erosion problems. A few miles away, a watermen's community on Smith Island is just a few inches above the waves. And Maryland is contemplating how to, in one official's words, "facilitate abandonment and retreat" when faster-rising waters eventually threaten towns on the Eastern Shore's mainland.

White hasn't gone out to see the ruined house, but he has seen pictures. "It's the death of a loved one," he said.

Even now, he hasn't entirely given up hope. Asked Thursday whether the house could still be fixed, White considered it. "Nothing's impossible," he said.

Out on the water, Baugh looked at the unsteady remains of the house and considered the same question. In the distance, the sun was setting, and another rainstorm was rolling over the bay.

"A couple nights like this," he said, and "I don't think you'll see anything left."

Anyone who has read to the end of the story might want to go here, see more pictures, and click "View all items in this story" and access the pdf of Stephen White's own island essay.

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